After hard-right commentators and conspiracy theorists resurfaced a series of offensive tweets written by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, some published as many as 10 years ago, Disney removed removed Gunn from the series.
The film’s cast, and others in Hollywood, have since supported him with public statements, but no one involved with the film has gone as far with their support as actor Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the Marvel series.
“I will do what I’m legally obligated to do but @Guardians without @JamesGunn is not what I signed up for,” Bautista responded when asked how he would respond if Gunn didn’t return to the series. “[Guardians of the Galaxy] w/o @JamesGunn just isn’t GOTG. It’s also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis. That’s just how I feel.”
I will do what Im legally obligated to do but @Guardians without @JamesGunn is not what I signed up for. GOTG w/o @JamesGunn just isn’t GOTG. Its also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis . That’s just how I feel https://t.co/Ym4FwruVDu— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) August 5, 2018
“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement at the time of the firing.
While Bautista certainly isn’t the first actor to stand behind James Gunn, he’s the only cast member to date who has done so with such strong criticism of Disney removing the director from the series in the first place. His tweet is also noteworthy in how it explicitly notes that Disney’s decision will send a message to trolls that these tactics are effective.
Indeed, Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon later left Twitter after being the target of a similar smear campaign based on his old work.